Last month, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced their inductees for 2015. It’s no surprise that there aren’t any particularly heavy bands being inducted this year. In fact, the only thing a musical act has to do to qualify for consideration is a) be popular, especially with critics and b) have come out with their first recording 25 years prior. That got us thinking about the many artists that put out their first recorded work 25 years ago. While few of these acts are likely to be inducted into next year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all of their first albums were released in 1990, and there are some of metal’s most influential albums, some that would go on to become it’s biggest bands, and a a handful of curiosities.
One year before Nirvana released Nevermind, the grunge movement was already in effect in Seattle. While early music from the band had a little more of a hair metal vibe, they found their groove on their debut album, and based off the success of “Man in the Box,” the band’s debut album went platinum. If any of the bands on this list were actually going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, this would be it, even though the sad heroin death of original vocalist Layne Staley looms over the band.
Released on independent label Amphetamine Reptile, Helmet more or less ushered in the post-hardcore sound with their debut. Guitarist Page Hamilton’s staccato riffage and drumming that was tight, non-reverbed and almost jazz-influenced put the band somewhere between hardcore, metal and alternative. The fact that the band was playing heavy music without looking the part (see Slaughter and Steelheart) made them a forward-thinking and forward-looking band, and they signed to Interscope the following year for a reported $1 million.
Atrocity began as a grindcore band in 1985, but by the time their debut album came out, they were a death metal band. Hallucinations is an ambitious concept album about drug use, and maybe their best work. By the mid ’90s, they were covering Duran Duran songs and have since moved on to symphonic and folk metal.